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Was Your Tree Struck By Lightning? Here’s What to Do


The experts at Advantage Tree Service have serviced the Des Moines, IA area for 17 years now, so you can trust that they can handle any tree emergency you throw at them!

How to Stay Safe After Your Tree Is Struck By Lightning

Trees get struck by lightning nearly every time there is a lightning storm. Trees are extremely vulnerable to lightning strikes because of how tall they are. There are nearly 25 million lightning strikes per year and most of those happen to trees. That is why the placement of trees in relation to homes is so important because at any moment that tree could get struck by lightning and potentially do damage to your home if it is planted too close. It is crucial that you know what to do in the event that your tree gets struck by lightning. The last thing you want is to cause more damage to the tree, to your yard, or to your home, so calling in a professional the moment it happens is the best thing to do. 

Continue reading to learn more about what to do when your tree gets struck by lightning. 

What Does Lightning Do to a Tree?

Depending on where the lightning strikes the tree, it will cause a couple of different things to happen. Some of these things are more dangerous to the overall health of the tree than others.

Below are some common things that happen to a tree when it’s struck by lightning: 

  • It can blow some of the bark off
  • It can leave a scar on the tree
  • It can cause the water cells beneath the surface to boil
  • The tree could start to steam or even explode

When lightning strikes a tree, it is nothing to mess around with. It can lead to dangerous outcomes if a professional isn’t called right away. Even if it doesn’t seem like much damage was done to the tree, it is still advisable to call in an expert to make sure everything is safe. 

Common Damage to Trees From Lightning Strikes

Believe it or not, a lightning strike isn’t an automatic death sentence for a tree. It all depends on what part of the tree was hit and how deep into the tree it struck. That said, if lightning hits the center of the tree, there really is no coming back from that. 

Common damage done to trees from a lightning strike are: 

  • The bark gets blown off
  • A branch splits
  • It leaves a scar
  • The trunk splits
  • The tree explodes

If the lightning strikes the tree’s core, it is highly likely the tree will explode because of it. This can lead to damages to your home if the tree is within range, or it could cause a blockage in the road or obstruction to an electrical wire. 

In the scenario where the tree blows up, the life of the tree is most likely over after that. However, if it just grazes the outside of the tree trunk, the tree can live a happy and healthy life after that. It is recommended you call in a professional to properly maintain a tree after a lightning strike to ensure the health and safety of the tree. 

What to Do

When a tree on your property is struck by lightning, do not hesitate to call in a tree professional. This will ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible. If the tree didn’t immediately explode and it seems like the lightning only hit the outside of the trunk, you can try to go examine the damage yourself, but this is not recommended. 

At the end of the day, it’s nearly impossible to tell the health of the tree by looking at it unless you are a trained professional. It is best to maintain your own safety by waiting for the experts to arrive on the scene before you try to do any investigation on your own. 

Talk To An Expert

The professionals at Advantage Tree Service are there for you when you need them most. Whether you just need trimming and pruning done or you have a tree emergency, you can have the peace of mind knowing these experts have the knowledge, skillset, and hands-on experience to get the job done right! Call today to schedule your next appointment.